Over the past few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler have taken a close look at the Redskins’ depth chart, dissecting each position.
Some spots were easy. Others were more complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated as training camp opens this week: A player is not on the 53-man roster until the final cuts are made.
Up today …
On the roster: Brandon Meriweather, Ryan Clark, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Trenton Robinson, Akeem Davis and Ross Madison.
Likely to make the 53: Meriweather, Clark and Thomas.
Comment: The top three at this position aren't in any doubt: Meriweather and Clark will be the starters and Thomas, who appears healthy and had a strong offseason, will be the top reserve.
The big question is how much pressure will Thomas apply to the vets in front of him in camp and the preseason? I don’t suspect it will be enough for him to force his way into the starting lineup in Week 1. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Thomas does start at some point in 2014, and perhaps sooner rather than later. Remember, both Meriweather and Clark are on the wrong side of 30 and both are signed to one-year contracts.
After those three, the depth chart discussion gets a little muddled.
Battling for a job: Rambo, Robinson, Davis and Madison.
Comment: Last season, the Redskins kept five safeties on the 53-man roster. The above players, obviously, hope it’s five again, though the Redskins could potentially get by with four, since cornerback E.J. Biggers can pinch hit at the position.
The loss of Tanard Jackson to indefinite suspension does hurt a little. But the fact that the Redskins did not sign another safety to replace him shows that they don't believe the drop off to the next tier of backup candidates is that significant.
The player I expect to be under the most pressure is Rambo. He worked with the second team throughout the offseason and is a logical backup for Clark. But … has Rambo learned to tackle? Can he contribute on special teams? Will he fall victim to being one of “their” picks? All of that will be settled when the hitting starts for real in the preseason.
Robinson didn’t play much on defense last season (34 snaps) and I wouldn’t expect him to this season, either. He’s a special teamer. And a pretty reliable one. His eight tackles (in only 11 games) ranked fourth on the team. That gives him a leg up on the competition.
Davis, meantime, turned heads in OTAs and minicamp. But he’s an undrafted free agent with no pro experience, so the practice squad would seem to be a strong possibility.